Beth Bombara: It All Goes Up (Black Mesa Records) – Album Review
Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Beth did it again. She released another fantastic album that really deserves some serious attention. She doesn’t have a big machine behind her or an unlimited budget. Despite these hurdles, Beth delivers a release that has the sound and feel of a major label release. A professional band, sublime vocals and harmonies, great songwriting, and top notch production and engineering.
I just love the opening bars of this album. Some absolutely beautiful pedal steel guitar that just sets off Moment on such a positive note. It’s reminiscent of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth). In all three instances. the pedal steel is just an accent, but is perfectly placed. It’s that perfect bite of an ice cream sundae when you get everything in a single spoonful. It’s got the ice cream, the chocolate sauce, the nuts, the whipped cream, and the cherry. Beth’s voice comes in and delivers the knockout blow. Perfect pitch in an octave that is unattainable for us mere mortals. I haven’t even gotten to the lyrics which are very Zenlike. It’s about living in the moment, and being present. Not taking things too fast and staying in the “here and now”. Because really, when you think about it, the past and future don’t exist at all. Moment is a good reminder of that.
Beth knows how to blend genres in way that creates another genre altogether. Even with other musical styles in tow, her country predilection is very evident. Just listen to the fiddles, yes fiddles, on Curious And Free. This song is definitely on the melancholy side of the line and the fiddles perfectly add a ton of accent and emphasis. This is Beth lamenting about getting older, and how time is so fleeting. She is yearning to go back in time when things were maybe more simple and that free spirit feeling was present.
Lonely Walls was released as the first single on “It All Goes Up” and it is a dandy. A perfect choice for an inaugural song. It’s very catchy, the writing is great, and the vocals are dreamy. The voice is perfectly matched with the super psychedelic guitar solo at 2:20. I thought I couldn’t get any higher prior to that point, but I quickly learned that a greater elevation is attainable. This song is a very graphic depiction of life during Covid. The isolation, the fear, anxiety are all bundled up in Lonely Walls:
“I’m still waiting for the sun to shine
For the world to return to something I recognize
I’ve been patient
How much more can we take?
The bend will surely break, we’re crumbling
I’m not asking for anything crazy
I just wanna be with the one that I love
These arms are hungry to hold another heartbeat
Beating on between lonely walls”
The second single, Everything I Wanted, is a Fleetwood Mac-esque number that is pure ear candy. A perfect melding of 90’s alternative in the verse and then it takes a 90 degree left turn at the chorus into 70’s pop and yacht rock. With Beth behind the wheel, that turn is taken with absolutely no turbulence whatsoever. This song definitely has potential to be huge. It’s one of the finest examples of pop music as far back as I can remember.
Beth really delivers an absolute gem of an album. All of the ten songs on this collection are radio worthy. And I cannot write that about too many albums. Most albums have a little bit of filler on them. Not “It All Goes Up“. All of the songs were either written by Beth herself or co-written with Kit Harmon. So what you get is a product with 100% purity and authenticity.
Take a listen here.